85% of wholesale food buyers favor apps over mobile websites, and for good reason. A mobile eCommerce ordering app streamlines the procurement process for your customers and frees up valuable time for them to focus their attention on other areas of their business.
One of the most cited reasons for why buyers prefer using a native mobile app is because these platforms allow for flexible, on-demand ordering. They are no longer bound by the restraints of placing orders through a sales rep over the phone, through email, or even fax.
Your customers can now use their smartphone or tablet’s camera as a barcode scanner, allowing them to browse their shelves, scan low stock items, and automatically add them to their cart.Shelf-side ordering allows your customers to buy at the moment of purchase intent, instead of having to wait until they can speak to a sales rep. Mobile apps provide the greatest level of flexibility when compared to legacy systems and mobile optimized websites that rely on outdated ordering methods.
The Accessibility Factor
Not only will a mobile eCommerce app make ordering faster for your customers, it will make it easier and more accessible, too.
Mobile apps let your buyers have constant access to your company’s full digital catalog, including product information, updated price lists, and stock availability. This accessibility eliminates the hassles associated with traditional ordering methods (unavailable items, back-and-forth communication with sales reps) and helps to expose your customers to new items and product lines.
In addition your customers will have a direct line of communication to their sales rep via an in-app messaging platform. The modern B2B buyer may prefer ordering on a mobile device, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate working with their sales rep. This also gives your sales team the opportunity to become consultants and advisors instead of wasting their time as “order takers”.
A Faster Experience
Finally, remember that 40% of people abandon a website if it takes too long to load. Native mobile apps are designed to function efficiently with a smartphone’s operating system, and load an average of 1.5 times faster than mobile websites, thus eliminating the risk of customer drop-off due to slow load times.
Native mobile apps are the only eCommerce solution that allows your customers to place orders without having an internet connection. Buyers can simply place orders whenever and wherever they want, without having to worry about whether or not their order will actually reach their sales rep. For instance, with BlueCart, your customer can create and submit an order that will automatically sync with your back office as soon as they are able to access a wireless signal.
Consider a SaaS Solution
As we mentioned before, in a survey of 500 B2B suppliers, over half agreed that their customers want to order on mobile devices. Of the 500 surveyed, 72% currently offer mobile websites, while only 20% allow their buyers to order on native mobile apps. Out of the handful of suppliers who have implemented mobile app ordering, 43% have seen more than half of their customers respond positively and begin using the platform.
In order for your company to successfully compete in the changing B2B wholesale distribution industry, it is imperative that you implement a mobile eCommerce strategy that exceeds your customers’ expectations. A cost-effective way to accomplish this is by partnering with a technology company to rent a SaaS-based B2B eCommerce platform, like BlueCart.
There is nothing wrong with spending the time and money (lots and lots of money) to hire a developer to build your company a custom mobile app that syncs with your preferred ERP system, but why should you when there are better (and much, much cheaper) options on the market?
SaaS-based mobile eCommerce platforms give you the flexibility and convenience of minimal upfront investment and low monthly fee , and require a very small time investment to get up and running. Not only that, but because you are renting a customized native mobile app from a technology company, you can rest assured that you will always have an up-to-date and best-in-class mobile and online ordering system for your customers.